Cognitive interference during competition among volleyball players with different goal orientation profiles
In this study, we examined interfering thoughts during sport competition among university volleyball players as a function of dominant goal orientation and outcome. In particular, we investigated the performance worries and thoughts of escape experienced while performing in athletes with high task and low ego orientation and athletes with high ego and low task orientation. Goal orientations were assessed before the start of a volleyball tournament, whereas cognitive interference was assessed on three different occasions after games. The results revealed no consistent differences for performance worries. In contrast, in all analyses we found that athletes with high ego and low task orientations reported more thoughts of escape when losing than when winning, and more thoughts of escape than athletes with high task and low ego orientations when winning or losing. The results support in part the suggestion that a high ego orientation, when not accompanied by a high task orientation, can be linked to motivationally maladaptive cognitions.